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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A bad place for bikes

Reading the latest Irvington neighborhood newsletter last night, we learned that the neighborhood association's land use committee is suggesting that the city abandon the idea of encouraging bicyclists to use Northeast Ninth Avenue as a main thoroughfare between Broadway and Irving Park. In particular, the committee is concerned about that block of Ninth between Broadway and Schuyler, which they say is bicycle-unfriendly.

We couldn't agree more. That particular block is scary to travel on, whether you're on a bike, on foot, or even in a car. With the OnPoint Credit Union parking lot across Ninth from the credit union itself, there are many moments of chaos each weekday, with all sorts of unexpected maneuvers by cars and plenty of pedestrians marching across the street in the middle of the block. Meanwhile, the doors of short-term-parked cars along the curb swing open into the street with reckless abandon. And the four-way stop at Ninth and Schuyler is a hot spot for impatient drivers who tend to roll through the eastbound stop sign on Schuyler after dealing with parallel parking delays from customers of the nearby post office branch. (The post office traffic makes Eighth pretty undesirable as well.)

We've seen several close calls and angry verbal exchanges at Ninth and Schuyler as it is, and running a lot of bicycle traffic through there would be crazy. When we're in that neighborhood running errands, we often get off the bike and push it across the intersection, or ride on the sidewalk and behave like a pedestrian in order to avoid the many hazards out in the middle of the street.

The neighbors say that Eleventh would make a better north-south bike boulevard, and as usual, the neighbors have got it right. Ninth is not the best choice for a bike until one gets north of Tillamook.

Comments (8)

The City will rename Ninth, "The Dalai Lama" bicycle trail. Reason or logic are not likely when the City is involved.

The neighbors as usual have got it right. But when, in the recent history of Portland, has the city ever listened to the neighbors, you know, people who would actually know what works best in their neighborhood!

Plus Ninth itself is poorly paved south of Knott. It's cracked concrete with chunks of rock sticking out. Unpleasant to ride on unless you have big poofy soft tires.

I ride the route on my bike nearly every day. NE 9th is the best way to get through the Lloyd District and across Broadway/Weidler going north. The real disincentive for using 9th north of Schuyler is the nubbly concrete pavement. Although, that block north of Broadway might be a little hairy, it seems like some minor changes to the 9th/Schuyler intersection flow could make it easier for everyone.

Of the three forms of transportation you mention (foot, bike, car), I feel safest on a bike in that block. It's the quickest/smallest way I can dart around all of the inconsiderate people buzzing around.

It's the quickest/smallest way I can dart around all of the inconsiderate people buzzing around.

I wonder if you might explain the difference between "darting" and "buzzing".

Wait, let me guess: one is a good thing because you do it and the other is...


I thought so.

"it seems like some minor changes to the 9th/Schuyler intersection flow could make it easier for everyone. "

Such as?

About the only thing I could see making a difference at 9th and Schuyler would be to put up planters blocking through traffic, like at 32nd. Presumably bikes and peds could still cut through... That almost makes sense.


Blocking 9th & Schuyler sounds good to me! When driving to the post office, I always turn off Broadway @ 11th, because 9th is such a CF. I'd rather not contend w/ bikers on 11th, and 9th is a better straight shot through Lloyd for the bikers. Win-win!

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